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RE/MAX 440
Gail Hoover
4789 Route 309
Center Valley  PA 18034
 Phone: 610-791-4400
Office Phone: 610-791-4400
Cell: 610-217-8136
Fax: 267-354-6890 
gailhoover@aol.com
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Gail Hoover

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What Homeowners Don't Know about Energy Savings

July 7, 2015 1:42 am

According to a recent report, most homeowners participate in some kind of energy-saving activity at home, such as unplugging electronics when not in use, changing HVAC air filters and using a programmable thermostat. The report, conducted by HVAC provider Lennox, concludes that with these measures, homeowners score a ‘B’ in energy conservation. How can they do better?

“Saving energy does not have to be a daunting task,” says Lennox Energy Efficiency Expert Kyle Golden. “There are simple maintenance tasks and improvements homeowners can put into action around the house that can make a big impact on energy bills.”

One of the more common activities cited in the report is turning off the A/C system completely on hot days and the heating system on cold days. This can do more harm than good, explains Golden.

“While turning off your air conditioner system completely seems like an easy and effective way to conserve energy and save money during the summer, it is actually forcing the system to work overtime to get back to a comfortable temperature. Doing so uses more energy and can therefore cost more - not to mention the increased wear and tear on the equipment,” Golden says.

Rather than shutting the system off, Golden advises lowering or raising the temperature of the thermostat, or installing a smart thermostat to do it automatically.

According to the report, homeowners are willing to invest in energy-saving improvements, such as solar panels or appliances, energy-efficient windows, a high-efficiency furnace or air conditioner, insulation, a programmable thermostat, a high-efficiency water heater or a low-flow shower head.

Source: Lennox.com

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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What's New in High-Tech Kitchen Appliances

July 6, 2015 1:42 am

Just when you think kitchen gadgets and appliances have reached the height of efficiency, a new generation proves you wrong. Design experts give us a close-up look at the newest high-tech kitchen gear:

Google-powered oven tablet
– Dacor’s Discovery IQ Oven goes way beyond convection options with a touch-screen control panel that is a Google-powered tablet. Coupled with the Dacor app, it will tell you when a dish is ready to serve, switch automatically to warming mode and send you smartphone notification. Cost? About $7,500.

A smarter coffeemaker
- Making your morning cup of Joe just got a whole lot easier. With the Mr. Coffee 10-Cup Optimal Brew Smart Coffeemaker with WeMo, you can schedule or adjust brew time from your smartphone. About $150.

Hand-held kitchen thermometer
– Now you can get a temperature read on your turkey without having to hang around the kitchen. The iDevices Kitchen Thermometer alerts your mobile phone when the bird is thoroughly cooked. An additional LED-screened device sits on the countertop or mounts magnetically to your oven, letting you monitor the temperature whenever you pass by. About $98.

Wi-Fi-enabled refrigerator
- Imagine a tablet secured to the front of your refrigerator! The Wi-Fi-enabled LCD screen on this Samsung model lets you watch TV, pull up recipes, and even make or answer calls through your fridge. It boasts counter-height drawers with adjustable temperatures and holds up to 28 cubic feet. About $3,600.

Slow cook from your phone
– Using the free WeMo app, you can control this slow cooker right from your phone. Shift from high to warm to off with the tap of your finger—even if you're miles from home—and dinner will be waiting for you when you arrive. About $130.

Smart bartending
– Mixing drinks is simple with the Perfect Drink scale and app. Compatible with Android and iOS, the scale comes loaded with recipes and walks you through each step for mixing anything from a single glass to a large pitcher of your favorite potent potable. Because the scale is so sensitive, there's no need to measure as you pour. Simply follow the directions on your app. About $40.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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9 Little Must-Haves for Baby's Room

July 6, 2015 1:42 am

Sometimes it’s hard to believe how much ‘stuff’ is needed when preparing to welcome a newborn—and perhaps some of us overdo a bit in the name of, “Oh, that’s so cute!”

But parenting website whattoexpect.com lists 10 items parents-to-be will want to have on hand before they bring home their bundle of joy:

Odor-free diaper pail – Several types are available today, including one that uses baking soda cartridges to help banish nursery odors.

Rechargeable night light – These gadgets emit enough light to guide you on your way to those midnight feedings without disturbing baby’s sleep. A single charge will last for eight hours.

Wipe warmer – A cold wipe can be a jolt to your little one as he’s coming out of sleep. A warmer will hold up to 100 wipes and ensure even the first one is warm.

Crib night light – It isn’t necessary to turn on a light every time you peek in on your baby. A crib light emits soothing light and womb sounds that provide your snoozing newborn with both comfort and security.

Safety gate – No baby-proofing job is complete without a safety gate. Newly designed gates provide top-notch security as well as good looks anywhere in your home.

Closet organizer
– If closet space is scarce, a tiered, 6-shelf closet organizer will hold toys, onesies, diapers and more neatly and within easy reach.

Bottle warmer – Takes the guesswork out of heating baby’s milk or food to just the right temperature. Best of all, it helps prevent the loss of nutrition that can occur if you use a microwave as a warmer.

Portable changing pad
– Great for on-the-so diaper changes anywhere in the house. A non-skid bottom holds it in place while the safety strap and angles sides help keep your baby secure.

Portable diaper caddy – Holds wipes and other supplies as well as a supply of diapers. You can take with you for use wherever a diaper change may be needed.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Interior Housepainting Tips for Newbies

July 6, 2015 1:42 am

Anyone would agree that a fresh coat of paint is the easiest, most cost-effective way to give your home a clean, new look for spring – and even you’ve never wielded a paintbrush before, a few simple tips will help you get results you can be proud of.

From ELivingToday.com, here are nine tips that will have you painting like a pro:

Prep and patch
– Long before you pour the paint, be sure walls are clean and dust-free and use patching paste and a putty knife to patch and smooth any existing chips or nail holes. Use masking tape to mark off windows.

Pick your paint – Apart from choosing color(s), decide which type of paint to use. Latex-based paints are easy to clean with soap and water, but are not as durable. Oil-based paints require a bit more care, but are more durable for areas that get lots of wear and tear.

Pick your brushes – For oil-based paints, choose a brush with natural bristles. For latex-based paint, pick a brush made of synthetic material such as nylon.

Have all materials on hand –
In addition to those above, you will need: drop cloths, gloves, paint rollers and trays, a ladder, primer, stir sticks, paint thinner, and a ball cap to protect your head. Disposable roller tray liners will save some time and effort.

Prime first – Open the windows to let fresh air circulate. Then use primer to prime the walls before you paint – especially in older homes with lots of patched holes.

Mix the paint – For large areas, pour all the paint into one bucket and mix it together using a sturdy paint stick. This will ensure the color is consistent even if there are slight variations from can to can.

Paint in order – If you are painting the ceiling, paint it first before the walls, doors and trim. Just a few strokes of the roller on walls or ceiling will help you find the rhythm that works for you.

Clean brushes and tools – Remember to use water for latex-based paint brushes, paint thinner for oil-based.

Get rid of paint fumes – In addition to opening windows while priming and painting, try banishing paint fumes faster by pouring a little vinegar into a few bowls and setting them out throughout the painted room.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Fourth of July Travelers Number 40 Million-Plus

July 3, 2015 1:31 am

Rising income, driven by a strong employment market, is prompting over 40 million Americans to take a Fourth of July trip this year, according to recent AAA projections. Despite some seasonal increases, gas prices remain well below year-ago levels, which has also helped boost Americans' disposable income.

“Independence Day is typically the busiest summer travel holiday for this reason, and more Americans are planning a holiday getaway than any year since 2007,” says AAA President Marshall L. Doney.

The all-American road trip remains as popular as ever, with nearly 85 percent of travelers planning to drive to their destinations. Over 3 million travelers will travel by air, and another 3 million-plus will travel by cruise, train or bus, AAA estimates.

According to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index, travelers will encounter moderately higher lodging rates and airfares this Fourth of July weekend, with the average nightly stay in a Two Diamond hotel costing $145 and the average nightly stay in a Three Diamond hotel costing $195. Average airfares for the top 40 domestic flight routes will also be higher at an average of $227.

Source: AAA

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Can You Guess the Most Popular Fourth of July Eats?

July 3, 2015 1:31 am

As we gear up to celebrate Independence Day, there’s one food item that will be on the majority of tables across America: hamburgers. According to a recent Instantly survey, hamburgers were named the top menu item for the Fourth of July, surpassing hotdogs by nearly 40 percent. The most popular side dishes will be potato salad, corn on the cob and baked beans, respectively.

When it comes to snack items, the overwhelming majority of Americans will reach for Frito-Lay brand chips, including KC Masterpiece, Kettle Chips and Doritos.

These classic food items uphold a longstanding tradition for many Americans, with 34 percent selecting these items based on historical preference. Nearly three-quarters of Americans who are dieting or watching what they eat consider the Fourth of July a “cheat” day.

Source: Instantly

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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How to Capture Stunning Fireworks Photos

July 3, 2015 1:31 am

Capturing a firework burst is no easy task. Nighttime conditions and a relatively small window of opportunity present challenges for photographers, regardless of skill. But with the right amount of preparation and a few technical tweaks, anyone can shoot stunning fireworks photos. Here’s are three tips to get you started:

Come prepared
– Before you start snapping shots, be sure you have all the essentials on hand. Bring an extra battery and memory card, and a flashlight for when the sun sets. Turn off the flash and remove any filters.

Set up
– A tripod works best, but if you don’t have one, put your camera on a stable surface. Place it upwind of fireworks to avoid smoky images. Set your camera’s scene mode to fireworks or night for optimal results.

Point and click
– Press the shutter release just before the fireworks explode, and use a long shutter speed to capture changing colors and individual formations. Experiment with wider shots to include the surrounding landscape.

Source: Consumer Reports

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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9 Safety Guidelines for Fireworks

July 2, 2015 1:31 am

Fireworks are a time-honored tradition on Independence Day. If you’re planning to host your own firework-filled festivities at home, keep in mind these safety guidelines issued by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

• Make sure the fireworks you want to buy are legal in your area before buying or using them.

• Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks, including sparklers. Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees – hot enough to melt some metals.

• Do not buy fireworks that are packaged in brown paper, which is often a sign that the fireworks were made for professional displays.

• Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks.

• Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishap.

• Never try to relight or handle malfunctioning fireworks. Soak them with water and throw them away.

• Never point or throw fireworks at another person.

• Light fireworks one at a time, then move away from them quickly.

• After fireworks complete their burning, douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding the device to prevent a trash fire.

Source: Consumer Product Safety Comission

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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What Can the Founding Fathers Teach Us about Roofs?

July 2, 2015 1:31 am

The benefits of homeownership were not lost on the Founding Fathers. In fact, both George Washington and Thomas Jefferson took steps to protect their investment, including upgrading the exteriors of their homes. Both Washington and Jefferson’s homes, which still stand today, offer home improvement insight that can inform homeowners today.

Washington, for instance, complained of his home being “plagued with leaks.” To prevent water from entering his Mount Vernon estate, he replaced his roof with a wood-shingled version common to the 1700s. Jefferson, who had a knack for architecture and engineering, considered a variety of roofing materials when planning the construction of Monticello, and eventually settled on tin shingles. Although they used different materials, both roofs made sense for each of their needs.

What’s the lesson here? Homeowners should take a cue from the Founding Fathers by considering all of their options before replacing the roof, or undertaking any home improvement project!

Source: Metal Roofing Alliance

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Lightning Protection a Must for Homeowners

July 2, 2015 1:31 am

Lightning strikes may seem like a rare occurrence, but they can wreak havoc on your home if they strike your property, says Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety President and CEO Julie Rochman.

“People often underestimate the harm that lightning can cause, but make no mistake–it’s a dangerous force to be reckoned with,” says Rochman. “We encourage both home and business owners to take the necessary precautions to protect their property from the damaging effects of a lightning strike, such as power surges.”

• For protection from lightning strikes in the general area of your home or an externally produced surge, a whole-house surge protector is the best starting point for reducing the risk of damage or a fire.

• Install additional protection for important or expensive electronic equipment. This should include localized surge protection for power cords to the electronic equipment and any telephone and cable/satellite television lines connecting to the equipment. Make sure all equipment is UL-listed and properly labeled.

• Lightning protection systems are designed to protect a structure and provide a specified path to harness and safely ground the super-charged current of the lightning bolt. The system neither attracts nor repels a strike, but receives the strike and routes it harmlessly into the earth, thus discharging the dangerous electrical event. Be sure the lightning protection system is designed and installed in accordance with accepted industry standards.

• Stay off landline/wired telephones and utilize a cell phone if necessary. In your home, do not stand near open windows, doorways or metal piping. Stay away from the television, plumbing, sinks, tubs, radiators and stoves. Avoid contact with small electric appliances such as radios, toasters and hairdryers.

Source: IBHS

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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